- May 23, 2018
WAHMs or work-at-home moms are a new breed of career women-slash-homemakers who are finding practical ways to achieve work-life balance. Yup, there are plenty of hyphens in that previous sentence, but that’s exactly what a work-at-home mom is: a woman with hyphenated roles. I should know - I am one!
I often get asked if it’s easy to juggle work and taking care of a family. The short answer is “yes...but.” After all, modern innovation like apps and personalized services have made both having a career and domesticated life easier to manage. What a WAHM needs to achieve on her own, however, is to find a constant motivation to do both at once. Here are six ways I use daily to become a Motivated Mommy and career woman.
Eyes on the prize
Some people do it with pegboards (virtual or otherwise), motivational posters, a Spotify music playlist, or other tools. I personally use my unpaid bills to keep me on my toes!
Kidding aside, it all starts with having a goal you can visualize. My husband and I decided that an extra source of income can help us build our dream house and start a travel fund, aside from getting all our financial bases covered. We add “due dates” to our goals so we can get extra-motivated to work towards them on time. Keeping our sights on a literal dream home or vacation spots provides enough impetus for me to meet deadlines, which is why I have a Pinterest inspiration board filled with Mediterranean-style houses with gorgeous gardens.
Create your own workspace
Perhaps one of my biggest problems when I first started working from home was finding an ideal place to work. The living room was too noisy, the kitchen too busy, and the bedroom too inviting for slacking off. Also, family members (including pets!) don’t really understand the invisible barriers separating work deadlines from home demands.
Eventually, I managed to carve out a workspace in a small room that used to be a catch-all for stuff we don’t really use anymore. After selling most of its contents in a garage sale via the Nextdoor app (https://nextdoor.com/) and donating the rest, I finally have a small office with a desk, a comfy chair, four walls, and a door that separates work from the rest of the house. While owning cushy office amenities is something to aspire for, I find that enough privacy for me to be productive is already a great motivator.
Stick to your schedule and avoid distractions
Having a home-based job can throw any semblance of structure out of the window, especially if small kids are involved. However, I found that sticking as closely as I can to a work schedule and dedicated work hours yields the best results, and that everyone at home should be made aware of this schedule.
I had to sit my entire household down and explain that mom needs to work between so-and-so hours, but between those and on entire weekends, I am available for mom-related matters. What works best for me is to get most of my tasks done as soon as I get up (I’m a morning person), have brunch with the family, continue work in the early afternoon, then have enough time left over to do chores and relax for the rest of the day.
Flexibility is good, but distractions should be discouraged and avoided as early as possible. I use the Freedom app (https://freedom.to/) to help me block out social media sites and other online distractions so I can stay focused on the task at hand.
Keep track of achievements (and challenges)
Being an adult with other people relying on her, whether it’s family members or people from work, can present special problems and new issues to deal with. Take note of these issues, don’t be afraid to ask others for help, use available tools, and learn from these experiences.
A helpful organizational app like Todoist is great for task delegation and file sharing. You may not get it right the first time, but learning curves are always there to make you a better person. If you end up successful, then congratulations! You’ve learned a brand new skill and useful habits you can apply to work and life.
Learn to decompress
Trying to meet deadlines and keeping a household running smoothly can certainly take its toll on anyone. Stress is a real thing, and when ignored, could prove to be harmful to your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. You’ve been giving it your all so now it’s time to “take”: learn to take a break, take a deep breath, and take things one step at a time.
Self-care is an important part of working from home and being a mom. You don’t have to splash out on treats every time you feel stressed. I find that taking a break every three hours to perform a 10-minute Barre3 routine and drinking a tall, cool glass of water or lemonade refreshes and re-energizes me for the tasks ahead.
You deserve it for being an awesome WAHM who gives it her best shot! I personally believe in delayed gratification, so I plan long vacations with my loved ones after a stretch of working from home. For shorter breaks, however, a brisk walk around the neighborhood with my dog is a treat in itself.
Being self-employed means you have nobody to tell you when to take a break, so your experiences are the best gauge for how and when to treat yourself. So if you prefer mini-breaks over the weekend, that’s great, too!
Of course I will say these motivational tips work for me. I’m still running a house and meeting work deadlines, while slowly but surely building up enough savings for our future!
Got any tried and tested tips for being a motivated working mommy? I’d love to hear them!